Manning: James "Awesome in All Phases"

Peyton Manning talked about the Rams, playing on Monday Night Football, and how Edgerrin James surprises many of the league's defensive ends.

Peyton Manning's Replies to the media on October 13th in Indianapolis...

On being back home on Monday Night Football

"It does feel good. It seems like a while since we've played at home. It's the first of three Monday Night Football games, which is always exciting. (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy always points that out. It is an exciting atmosphere and it is special, but still, at 8:05 or 8:06 when the game starts, it comes down to execution, who blocks and tackles and runs the ball the best. No question, for some of these young players, the first time playing on Monday Night Football is an exciting opportunity."

On the Rams

"I think a team like the Rams, it's not hard to understand what kind of team they are. Their offense is as explosive as there is in the NFL, and with a pass rusher like Leonard Little and a playmaking safety like Adam Archuleta, it's an extremely tough opponent."

On what it says about having three Monday Night Football games this season

"I think it does make a statement about this team and this franchise. People always say it's about market size and this and that. It's funny that the (New York) Giants don't have a Monday Night game this year. That's kind of rare. I'm sure they will the following year, but Indianapolis has three and two being here at home. I think it says how far we've come and the fact that it's a national product and people like to watch us play. It's exciting when you see the schedule come out and you see three games on Monday Night."

On if he gets in to thinking ‘this team scores a lot of points'

"I think you do a little bit. (Head) Coach (Tony Dungy) kind of points that out. He points out defensively what they're capable of, offensively what they're capable of, and so you understand that our defense is in for a tough challenge against these guys. That's really the approach every week on both sides of the ball. Defensively, those guys approach it as if, ‘Hey, the offense might not score a lot today, we have to hold them to three or seven.' Offensively, we're saying, ‘Hey, defensively, they might be in for a tough one, we have to score a bunch of points.' You hope you both play well at the same time and that results in a big win, but you can't do it without doing the things you always do like protecting the ball and eliminating the penalties. That's the mindset this week."

On the penalties last week

"It was a little bit atypical because we really take that seriously about being in the top five in penalties and in the turnover game. We've been doing well at that. It wasn't a good job of it against San Francisco, but we plan on being in the tops in that every single week."

On being focused the entire game with St. Louis' ability to score points in a hurry

"You have to. And really with all of their players, because they are aggressive and they aren't afraid of anything. They'll take a number of chances and in all the games they've been in, they've been down fairly significantly and ended up either coming back and winning the game or going down to a fourth-quarter drive. So you know this will be a 60-minute game."

On how RB-Edgerrin James has been this year

"He's been awesome, really in all phases. Certainly running the ball stands out, but his pass protection's been excellent, he's done a really good job of catching the ball out of the backfield and getting north right away. That's what we talk about when we throw these short passes. If they tackle you for a three-yard gain, that's kind of a win for the defense, but if you turn that three-yard pass and turn into an eight-yard or 12-yard gain, that's a win for the offense. That kind of frustrates the defense, and he's doing a good job of that. And he's done a good job of finishing into the end zone. He had a couple of longer runs that we've seen in the past against San Francisco. So, I've just been very appreciative of his efforts so far this year."

On if RB-Edgerrin James is one of the better pass-protecting RBs

"He's the best. If you watch, sometimes it goes unnoticed, but half the time, he's blocking defensive ends. These linebackers now are 250, 260. The DBs are the ones that give a lot of guys trouble because they're so quick. He kind of has a stance and something waiting on all of them. I think he catches a lot of them off guard that come running in. I don't think they know how strong he is in his legs. That's the thing, maybe I've always appreciated the most, naturally. He's the best at it."

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